Pages

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Traveling and Limitations Part 2

So I talked earlier about a little device called a Scrubba, basically a heavy duty plastic bag with a flexible washboard in it for washing clothes on camping trips.  I thought it might be cool to use for business trips so I can pack really light and progressively wash each days' clothes.

I've since checked out some reviews online and it sounds like the Scrubba is great for camping, not so great for regular or even general travel use.  The whole idea appealed to me bacause washing one or two days' worth of clothes at once seemed manageable as far as time and energy go when using something small like a Scrubba.

I started looking at other options, for instance washing clothes in the bathtub with a (clean!) plunger, or by kneading or stomping on the clothes (some online claim to stomp clothes clean while they shower) also in a bathtub.  I looked at travel washboards, I've looked at a lot of stuff.

I found a Lifehacker post about the plunger method, sounds like a lot of work (the plunger takes the place of a washing machine's agitator cycle).  Not only is the agitating itself a lot of work, it takes a lot longer than I'd like.  It would only make sense to me if washing everything at once.  All in all, when you consider the time it will take wringing everything out it seems too much work in one day, I might as well just hit a laundrymat in the area of wherever work sends me.

But then I saw that in the comments of that post, one nice person says they put their clothes in a watertight container and "bung" it into their car's "boot", which I believe means to "place" it into the "trunk" in Amerispeak.  Your car's start and stop movements act as an agitator.  That sounds brilliant.

I'm going to look for a few watertight containers I can fit in my suitcase.  Once I'm set up in my hotel, I'll fill one container with clothes, detergent, and water and one with just water.  I'll drive to work, and before I leave work drain the detergent container and put the clothes in the rinse container for the drive back to my hotel.  I could just take them inside my work and dump and rinse them there but that may be a little too ecclectic, I don't know.

I'll use the rinse water for the next day's detergent water, because why not?  And it should require a little less soap that way.

Now the next big win for this idea would be finding something with the Scrubba's low profile that's designed to roll around in the trunk of a car without leaking.  On second thought I might even be able to use a Scrubba for this, I'll have to look into it.

As for drying, there's no shortage of towels in hotel rooms. I'll roll the wet clothes up in a towel and wring them a bit, then hang them up to dry.

We'll see how this goes.  Til then,

David

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Out in the cold

I've attached a photo of Windows 8 updating to 8.1.  I'd assumed my convertble tablet already had 8.1 because I'd checked for updates a few different ways and the 8.1 update was never offered (until recently).  I bought this device after 8.1 was released, so it was reasonable to assume it was pre-loaded.  Before today I didn't need 8.1, I tend to stay on the desktop side of things.  Now I need it to try out a new app that requires it.

Anyway, if you can see the photo, Windows 8 has the least verbose install screen I've ever seen.  You can hold a mouse cursor over the progress bar to see a percentage, otherwise all you see is the name of what's being installed, progress bar and a brief description of what it's currently doing.

It's design decisions like this that make me feel like I could not be more differently minded than whoever designed and approved this.  Why obscure any useful information?  Why no download bitrate (when it was downloading)?

Is it clean?  Yes.  Would a percentage indicator clutter it up too much, or a bitrate counter?  I really don't think so.

I have to say I'm indifferent to Google's new Material design rules as well.  They seem to be raising contrast in their interfaces, which I think is good.  Every update to the web Gmail dashboard seemed to be an attempt to remove contrast, to make it harder to pick options and features out at a glance. Though now that I think about it that could have been because of their advanced email tagging system, which raises contrast between the messages themselves.

One thing I absolutely dislike about the Material design in Android 5.0 is the recent app screen.  On previous versions they're neatly spaced in a vertical or horizontal column, the most recent few are on screen but you can scroll over to other ones.  In 5.0, at least in a preview I saw, you could only see the most recent app, and you had to slide the top one away to see the next one under it "like pieces of paper on top of each other".  So instead of opening recent apps and clicking on the one I want, I have to wade through them to find the right one.  It's a small thing, but it doesn't seem more convenient to me.

By the way, Chrome for Android has had similar functionality for a while, where the tabs aren't evenly spaced out, they're usually clustered to one side you have to dig through them to find the one you want.  That and it's inability to disable the address-bar-hiding full screen mode are why I don't use Chrome for Android much anymore.

David

Would the good people at MasterCard please fuck off?

So let me tell you about my night.  I have a long drive coming up tomorrow, about seven hours.  I'm going to be stuck in out the boonies, in a part of the US where internet access is a line-of-sight issue and if you can get it it's pretty bad quality.

So here's where my desire to have DRM-free media pays off.  I've just learned that 2000 AD has DRM-free digital comics available direct from their web site.  Awesome, and hey have a couple (hell, a ton) of series I keep hearing about available to purchase digitally.  So I buy two books to copy to my tablet so I can read them out in the middle of no-internet-land.  Or, I try to buy them.

My bank card is a MasterCard, and 2000 AD's payment processor (Sage Pay I think?) participates in this ridiculous program MasterCard set up called SecureCode.  What is MasterCard Secure Code? Why it's a system that requires users to create yet another password for you to remember every time you want to use your card online!  Yes, isn't that great?

It firstly annoys me and secondly worries me that MasterCard, a company who holds a lot of my financial security in their hands, doesn't understand basic security.  From having this bank card I already have one password, my online banking password.  Then I have another password, with the site I'm purchasing from.  Don't forget the password I have to log into my computer in the first place.  How many passwords would MasterCard like me to have in order to buy something online?

Pro tip:  Forcing someone to create an unnecessary password isn't more secure, it's less secure.  It's one more thing I have to remember, it's something that most people will either write down or use the same password they use for every other service.  Either option is insecure.  In some ways it's less secure than not requiring a password, because now if MasterCard Secure Code is hacked, the poor slob who only has one password now has that one password in some hacker's hands.

I'm sure it makes MasterCard feel better, because it's essentially a CYA maneuver.  Cover Your Ass.  Unfortunately it's a shit implementation of a shit idea that doesn't help me one iota.

The first time I faced a Secure Code screen it allowed me to opt out.  I tried many times on many devices to opt out tonight, and it wouldn't give me the option again.  Googleing "Secure Code opt out" results in many articles announcing Secure Code, assuring people that of course you'll be able to opt-out. Ha!

Here's another pro tip, for free MasterCard:  If you want more secure transactions, do one of two things:  1) Set up an authorization system where I can grant or revoke permission to a particular store or service to charge my card, kind of like Twitter and Google have in order to access my data.  2)  Get my cell number and text or email me every time my card is charged.

These aren't new ideas, they're in use by a lot of large companies.  I decided not to set up a Secure Code password, and I cancelled the transaction.  I might set it up in the future, but honestly I doubt I will.

For bonus reading, here's a little article I found (pdf) called "Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode: or, How Not to Design Authentication".

Also this, this, and this.

I have to say, I can't wait until MasterCard (and Visa, they have their own version I've yet to deal with) goes the way of the dinosaur, with its ridiculous processing fees and its security theater.  I mean come on MasterCard, when you have me wishing I could use Paypal instead you know you've done something horribly, terribly wrong.

David

PS-I eventually purchased the comics using an American Express Serve card, which I was planning on cancelling, but it looks like I might have to keep it loaded for just such an occasion in the future.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A little post about snobbery:

So maybe a year ago a friend of mine told me that it wasn't "proper" to put two spaces after a period anymore.  Last week my sister mentioned it, and today my brother did.  This wasn't them telling me because I do it, this was them mentioning it because using two spaces is how we were all taught

So there are two types of fonts, proportional and monospace.  Proportional "should" have one space after ending punctuation, monospace "should" have two spaces.  Note the quotes, because it's all really down to taste, training and usage and there's no punctuation jail for people who choose to do it their own way, unfortunately.  Here's a bit of dickishness about "proper" spacing some guy chose to inflict on the world, go read that if you want lessons in looking down your nose at people.  I'm not going to waste a lot of time writing about this because:

1)  There's no objective right and wrong---it's all down to taste, and
2) Even if there were an objective right it wouldn't matter anyway, because the amount of spaces after a period has no tangible impact on the movings and dealings of the world at large or its inhabitants.

In the article I linked above, the guy mentioned that every typographer (actually, every "modern" typographer, kind of implying that some do disagree, but they're not modern so they don't matter) knows to use one space, the same way waiters know which fork goes where.  That's an apt comparison, because neither thing matters.  They're both social signals.  Having a bunch of rules at the dinner table was a way for people of "high" breeding to signal their place in the social structure, as well as an easy way for those people to weed out the lowborns.

Do yourself a favor.  Re-read that Slate article and ask yourself, is the author helping anybody?  Does his tone and style make you think he's trying to make anybody's life easier with his advice?  Or is he just trying to make his preferred social signal the dominant one?  I mean, you might save a few minutes across your entire life by not typing that extra space, but you've blown those extra minutes in the time spent reading his article in the first place.  He actually acknowledges this:
And yet people who use two spaces are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste.
Because without social boundaries, how could we be dicks to all of our friends?  Without appearing to be dicks, I mean.  The best part of social boundaries is there's so many of them.  Is this guy dressed better than you?  Oh, and he has better manners?  Bummer.  Wait, he used two spaces after a period in a text!  Ooh, you can use that to cement your superiority over him.  Hooray for creating hoops people have to jump through to hang out with you, or to be seen as human beings in your eyes!!!

Full disclosure: I do most of my writing in a monospace font for a dozen reasons, and it's a hundred times easier to proofread (and just easier on the eyes) to enter two spaces after a period.  However, most places where I publish writing, including this blog, remove those extra spaces as part of their formatting system.  For instance, even if you type two spaces after a period in an html document, it only renders one.  I'm pretty sure Blogger ignores the second space too.  I don't worry about it in either case, because it doesn't matter.

Let's get this straight.  When writing, here are things that matter:

  • Tenses matter
  • Proper punctuation matters
  • Proper spelling matters (only every now and then)
  • Pluralization matters

Clarity matters above all, and these other things matter because they introduce redundancy and secure the clarity of the information you are trying to communicate.  If I write an email and put a comma in the wrong place, the meaning of the entire sentence (and due to clouding the context, the entire paragraph or email) could be messed up.  If I write my friend an email reminiscing about an old camping trip but only use the future tense he might ask me if I'm trying to invite him on another trip.  If I use one space or two after a period it affects, wait for it...absolutely nothing.

No! the Slate article says, It looks worse.  It hurts my delicate eyes to see two spaces after a period instead of one.  Also this way is right, and that way is wrong, because Argument From Authority!

Oh shit, so if I use two spaces after a period, that could end up distracting you to the point that you'll crash the plane you're flying?  It'll cost lives?  It'll make you blind in one eye, it'll break your computer screen, it'll bring God's wrath down upon me, it will have some sort of tangible affect on the world?  Nope?  It will actually have no affect at all except for annoying you?

Sounds like a great reason to keep following ending punctuation with two spaces to me!

Thanks,

David

PS - You know what?  He mentioned social boundaries, I'm honor-bound to quote Cloud Atlas:
I understand now that boundaries between noise and sound are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention if only one can first conceive of doing so.
BURN!!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day One Patches

And while I'm thinking about the games industry, what's with all the complaining about day one patches? Far Cry 4 has a patch waiting to download as soon as it's unlocked.  It'd be cool if they downloaded the patch with the pre-load data, but I know it's not likely.

Day one DLC sucks, because that means they left content out of the game in order to try to get more money, a few more dollars on top of the $60 they're already charging you.  It just feels gross.  Why not give us a complete game?  Expansions or episodes like Bioshock Infinite gave us make more sense.  The two episodes back in Rapture wouldn't really have fit in the game, they're their own stories.  And really if they had released those episodes Day One I wouldn't have minded, because they're not part of the finished game, they're their own thing.  Day one DLC with extra characters, missions, guns, etc, are things that were designed to fit in the main game but studios chose to leave them out to charge for the extras later.

Bitching about day one patches though?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Are people really upset that they're fixing bugs this quickly?  Yes the days of NES and PS1 are over, where a game had to be completely bug-free, because there were no updates.  It is an inconvenience?  Yes.  But in PC at least I don't blame a studio for not testing every possible configuration.  It would be impossible. People are going to report issues, and Ubisoft is actually so on top of it many of the issues were fixed when the game came out.  And let's not talk about all the games and shitty ports that never saw a single patch at all.  you'd think we might be a little more appreciative when someone is jumping on it,

A brief aside, I don't want to come off like an Ubisoft fanboy.  I thought it was really cool when they released Rayman Origins DRM-free, but apparently it was just a phase because Rayman Legends had DRM.  I don't really like Uplay but you only need to log into it to activate games and then you can leave it in offline mode, it's not that big of a deal.  I did really like Far Cry 3 though, and I'm really looking forward to Far Cry 4.  It's supposed to be more of the same, which sounds good to me.  I do hope the story is a bit better, I see what they were trying to do with Far Cry 3 but I think the game got away from them.

Anyway, I know the frustration stems from wanting to play a game and having to wait for patches, and I know this is an even bigger deal because it affects the biggest fans, the ones going out on a limb and buying the game before they get any word of mouth from friends.  But do me a favor and look at the Saints Row 2 pc port.  Look at Deadly Premonition.  Be glad that Ubisoft is on top of it.  It's annoying but it sure as hell beats the alternative.

David

Midnight Local Release Times

So because I'm not the type to pre-order games, there's a practice I've been unaware of in the gaming world:  Local Midnight release times.  That means if you live on the east coast your game is unlocked and playable a few hours before the west coast.  That means if you life in New Zealand your game is unlocked like 18 hours before the US.  The game I've just pre-ordered, for anyone curious, is Far Cry 4.

Let's not pretend like release dates for any corporate media have ever been consistently reasonable, and album releases still get the shortest end of the stick with months apart from country to country and even different track listings between them.  Rock Paper Shotgun loves to say that there are no oceans on the internet, and there should be release date delays.  And look, a globally consistent release date is far more fair than a Tuesday release in one country and a Friday release in another.  But it still rubs me wrong.

I'm in US Central time.  In a few hours people I know on the east coast will be playing Far Cry 4, and I'll be waiting an hour.  In the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal, and I'm not angry just a little flummoxed by it.  It just seems weird to me.  I don't fully get it.

What are they trying to achieve here?  Is it supposed to be more fair that people somewhere are getting it 18 hours in advance?  Is it a tactic to save their activation servers from getting hammered (if so that's actually a good strategy)?  Is it because executives in corporations have brain disorders where they jump to the most convoluted of a series of options?  (I only ask that one because I've had conversations with higher-ups at many corporations and their requirements for a good idea versus a bad idea are incredibly foreign to me.  I'm serious, when talking to executives at different times from different companies each time I got the strange sense they were from other planets.  Like they all took logic courses from the same terrible teacher.  Honestly I think it's due to the corporate structure bringing it's own challenges and rituals and they tune their mind to that system rather than the actual nuts and bolts of what their business actually does.  That's the only explanation I can think of.  And really, sometimes the difference between something like a good logo and a bad logo is intangible, indescribable, so perhaps they forgo their personal taste for a choice they can properly defend, even if it isn't the best option.  I don't know.  What a strange rant.)

Anyway, it's better than properly staggered releases, and perhaps it does help keep their network from collapsing.  It's not the worst idea I've ever heard of, but I'd rather a global release date and time set by GMT, not local time, so everybody has the same opportunity.

Though now that I think about it, if you're going to do global time, why not 8pm?  Midnight, when most people are in bed or about to go to bed?  Why not announce the 18th as the release date but unlock it at 8pm on the 17th?  (and the week before you can make that distinction, let people know when they can actually play it)

I don't know, I've only just been made aware of this type of release, perhaps I need to think about it some more.

Til then,

David


Thursday, November 13, 2014

What is really dead?

(wow, in a bit of design brilliance, entering in title in Blogger and then hitting enter twice publishes the post.  A blank post, with only a title, which is why some of you may get some rss silliness over this)

Okay, let's keep this short and sweet.  Can we stop declaring the death of things?  I mean concepts, I mean media.  People are still using vinyl.  You can still order a telegram delivery.  Cars did not kill horses, digital will not kill books, video did not kill radio, etc etc.  I can't tell you how many times in the last few years I've read an article about how blogging is dead written on a blog.  Tumblr is a blogging platform.  So is Facebook to some degree.  Sites like TechCrunch and HuffPost, that's debatable but the line has been blurred, they certainly are blog-like.  Twitter is a microblogging platform (among other things).  Youtube is a videoblogging platform (among other things).

Nothing dies.  I guarantee you someone right now is engraving writing on a stone tablet either to be cute or to create something designed to outlast paper and silicon.

The proper response when someone cites the death of music, or of movies, or of platformer games, or whatever, is to roll your eyes and blow a raspberry in their general direction.

It can be up to personal taste or historical analysis if you want to declare the end of an era or a zeitgeist transferal or a demographic shift, a disruption etc etc.  That's fine, and change is constant.  But seeing as how calligraphy is still widely practiced, live music is still considered a treat, and DOS and Amiga and even the NES can easily be emulated on our phones, let's stop pretending that any platform or format really dies.

Thanks,

David

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Traveling and Limitations

Last year I went to Florida for a long vacation.  I didn't pack light.  I had a lot to do, I needed a lot of things.  All my hard drives, my huge gaming laptop, books I meant to scan (if I had the time)(I didn't), all my clothes, some dvds and cds I still needed to rip, etc etc.  I basically moved my normal life there for two months (minus any kind of gainful employment), it was kind of an isolation thing, the closest person I knew lived an hour away.

That was for months, and I expected the tip to require a lot of stuff.  A little while later, I was going on a two-week trip.  I realized I could fit most everything I need into a backpack.  Laptop, chargers, one or two hard drives, game controller, maybe some dead tree books, even my wireless over-the-ear headphones easily slip into my bag.  That's everything I need to read (my phone), to write (laptop), to play games, to clean screens, I could also fit in extra batteries if I wished.  With that setup I would probably be good for months.  I might want for a portable blu-ray drive, though if they exist they're super expensive and those small drives break way to easily (I opt for two hard drives in my laptops instead of an optical drive)(I might re-evaluate that policy for my next laptop though, mSATA adding a second drive without taking a whole bay).

Looking at this backpack with all I could need for production or consumption purposes, it occurs to me that the road-warrior's bottleneck isn't tech, it's clothes.  Seriously.  Two weeks of clothes is one huge suitcase or two small ones.  You could plan on being extra-tidy and packing only one week's worth of clothes, or you could only pack a few pairs of jeans.  Shirts and pants I could re-use, but I would need clean underwear and socks every day. It's just mind boggling to me that something that's been around for thousands of years is the least innovated, the biggest burden, not that I can think of a better solution other than super-light thin clothes---like workout clothes, but that would only work for specific climates.  Even in warm seasons, you might want a little more clothing if and when it rains.

I'm in a position where, if I were to accept a new job that's sort of being offered to me, I'd need to take a lot of two week trips.  This means flights, this means hotel rooms.  My right arm might get super-muscular as a result but I still don't want to lug a suitcase around.  Hotels have free laundry facilities, well, some do.  Sometimes it's just one washer and dryer and other people are hogging it.  It's not something you can reliably bank on.

A device called a WonderWash has recently captured my attention.  A small washer that doesn't run on electricity, you crank it for a few minutes.  It's cool, you could use it while watching tv.  Too large for me to want to pack it in a suitcase to fly with, but it is a cool idea for a small apartment, you can save loads of space and money on laundry.  So I wondered, is there something similarly innovative for travelers?  I searched.

I found the Scrubba. Invented by some Australian (I think) gents, it was brainstormed to solve the problem of not wanting to take a bunch of clothes up a mountain, and also the desire to not wear filthy, stinky clothes on the way.  It doesn't look too different from a large plastic mailing envelope, except it's got a valve for letting air out and instead of bubble wrap inside it's got a flexible nubbed washboard.  Haven't tried it.  I'm going to order it, see what I think.

They sell a kit with clothesline and a large microfiber cloth (beach towel size).  You spread your garment over the cloth and roll it up inside of the cloth, squeezing out the water as you go, then you hang the clothes up.  Now towels are something every hotel has a ton of, and I could see forgoing their kit and just using hotel towels.  I am curious about wrinkles, and whether or not that means I'll need to travel with hangers, though I could easily pack them in with my clothes, I'd probably like to hang them up at the hotel anyway.  Hmm, does anybody make travel hangers that fold up small or something?

I seems they do.  Bit pricey, though I see a lot of other options too.

Well, food for thought for me.  Might be a hassle washing a load of clothes before bed every night but hey, I might just get some nice calming vibes out of it too.

Til then,

David

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Still not sure about Dynamite

Okay, well Dynamite is showing some activity in their efforts to make their comics DRM-free on Comixology.  I just looked at The Boys and it's all DRM-free, which is cool.  Expensive, but totally worth it and cool.  It didn't used to be, at least not right after the big DRM-free announcement.  To remind my readers, Dynamite responded to my earlier email inquiry to say they did intend to make their entire catalog DRM-free on Comixology, it's just taking longer than they'd like.  Seeing as how new Dynamite titles are showing up on the market not DRM-free, I'm not entirely sure what their game plan is.  But here The Boys is, proof that they are still freeing up more and more of their catalog.

Here's some math for you. On Comixology, buying every issue of The Boys breaks down like this:

Buying every issue as singles: $143.28
Buying all 12 volumes of the trades: $130.91
Buying all 3 volumes of the digital omnibus: $122.97

This is how it "should" be, meaning larger collections are cheaper per issue.  This is something you should watch out for because on Comixology buying single issues is regularly cheaper than buying digital collections, an artifact I think of digital singles being cheaper than paper singles, yet digital trades are usually closer to the (already reduced) paper trades price.

(BTW I'm sure The Boys wasn't one of the few titles available DRM-free at the time because it's one of the series I asked about in my email to Dynamite, along with Gail Simone's Red Sonja run.  That Red Sonja run is the title I really keep checking Comixology for.  When it goes DRM-free rest assured I'm scooping it all up.)

Side note:  The funny thing is Comixology has more Image titles available than Image's own digital store.  Yet when Comixology went DRM-free all of Image's titles were available DRM-free that day. Some people, looking at their Comixology accounts, said other publishers' books were trickling over to DRM-free on that day (and over subsequent days).  To be honest I don't know how any of this works, it seems largely counter-intuitive to me.  Is Comixology swamped and throttling the process?  I doubt it, all of Oni's (much smaller) catalog got switched over recently, as well as Valiant's catalog.  Maybe Dynamite is trying to provide better quality scans, or are trying to secure the legal rights on their end?  They are dealing with a lot of licensed titles, after all.

I suspect a year from now we'll be seeing an entirely different picture regarding Comixology and DRM-free publishers.  Hopefully each new DRM-free publisher causes pressure put on the others.  DC and Marvel will probably be the last ones to go, if they ever do.  If they did though, they'd gain themselves a boatload of my money in the process.  Just thinking of Icon and Vertigo alone, in addition to their more popular ongoing titles.  I don't know if my bank account could support it, to be honest.

BTW, I just noticed this article which says a handful of other publishers are going DRM-free too, Fantagraphics being among them.  Yay!

David

Monday, September 22, 2014

A little more on the Note Pro 12.2.

Trying something new.  I like to sit on things and read and re-read them.  Takes a lot of time, honestly, time I don't have right now.  I'm just going to publish it as is.  Apologies for muddledness or typos.

I mentioned a bit ago that I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 Pro.  My main reason is, honestly, Comixology allowing comics to be downloaded DRM-free.  That severely increased my comics reading, and I started to grow tired of the slow Windows 8 tablet I was using to read comics on.

So what do I think of the Note Pro 12.2?  I love the size, I love the screen.  It's a little odd that the menu button beings up the recent apps list and has to be long-pressed to bring any app's settings menu.  I've gotten used to it, but I'd like to be given the option to return it to it's more traditional behavior.

The screen is great, and big, and amazing for comics.  I have a matte screen protector to reduce fingerprints, a cheap one I got off of Amazon and it works okay, less smeary than the one on my phone, I suspect a higher pixel density should actually should mean better a better image when using matte protectors (less pixels getting caught in the color-shifting grain of the material, that water drop effect, so it at least doesn't look so distracting).  I dropped a 128 GB SD card in it and it's almost half full, mostly of comics.  My Android comic reading app of choice, Perfect Viewer, is a little slow to load the library, and slow to load pages sometimes.  I'm trying Komik now, which is nice.  It's a little snappier though it seems to try and create thumbnails every time I open the app instead of storing them somewhere.  It does have the option to get thumbnails in the background, so I don't have to wait while it's thinking about it, I can go straight to the comic I'm reading and get on with it.

Things I don't like on the tablet are mostly due to Android.  Well the first issue isn't.  The Note Pro 12.2 wifi model  doesn't have a quick charge feature, only the 4G model does.  I don't understand how different processors do or don't enable a quick charge but the wifi model charges fast enough that if it's almost dead I can plug it in and use it and it still charges a little during. 

I don't like that Android is by default an "always on" OS.  Always syncing, always crawling for data.  The thing I loved about the Windows 8 tablet was it's sleep mode.  Its normal standby is pretty good in itself, barely losing any battery power, but if it's on standby long enough it goes into a sort of hibernation mode, so it doesn't lose any more battery power but still starts back up reasonably fast.  I want my phone to always let me know if there's a new email or text message, I want it to be always connected and updating and being at my fingertips.  My tablet is a different type of device entirely.  It is an e-reader.  It's an occasional sketchpad.  I don't care if its apps are up to date, I don't want it looking for emails and text messages.  I'd like it to always be in deep sleep if the screen is off.  I want it to have battery power when I take it out of my bag.  I've disabled all the syncing I can, and wifi turns off when the screen turns off, which helps a lot.

Let's see, what else?  Oh, Play Market's tablet mode is total bullshit.  When it has two panes it's implemented in the worst way possible.  Tap on an app in the list to the left and it tells you the app's name (which you already know from the left pane) and gives options to open, update or uninstall the app.